What's for dinner tonight?

Maybe peas for pennies, greens for green in your wallet, or cornbread for gold.

For many Southern families, the traditional first dinner is a sign of prosperity in the New Year.

Yvonne Thomas spoke to one woman in Byron about why the soul food meal satisfies her heart most.

It's the first big meal of 2018.

“I started last night after I finished cooking dinner,” said wife and mother April Hodges. “The greens stand for wealth, and it means dollars, and the black-eyed peas are tradition for coins.”

For Hodges, it's a fresh start in more ways than one.

“We just moved here, so it's the first time cooking this meal in our house,” said Hodges.

Inside her new home, she created the same meal she learned from the matriarchs in her family.

“My grandmother had 17 kids and my mom was the baby, so that makes me the youngest grandchild,” said Hodges.

Much of what she's learned happened in her grandmother's kitchen, like the values of hard work, family, and tradition.

“I was always underneath my grandma. She pretty much taught me a lot,” said Hodges

She says that's really what the heart of soul food is – a dish that touches both the stomach and the heart, binding the families together.

“It's mostly tradition, to carry the tradition on throughout the years. As I get older, I hope that my kids will come home for my cooking,” said Hodges.

Even though cooking this meal won't guarantee a spot free 2018, Hodges believes it's a good first start in their home.

“We'll see... I'll tell you next year if it works,” said Hodges.